We've had emails at CougarFan.com asking for explanation of terms used in practice reports (namely Greg Wrubell's great practice reports). So, here are some terms and short explanations.
Sam, Mike, Buck, Will Linebackers
Sam, Mike, Buck, Will Linebackers
- Sam is the nickname for the strong-side linebacker, or the linebacker that lines up on the side where the offensive tight-end is positioned. The Sam linebacker is generally better against the run than the Will linebacker.
- Mike is the nickname for the traditional middle linebacker. He generally has responsibility to call the defensive plays, so is sometimes referred to as the “quarterback” of the defense. In a 3-4 defense, he will be the middle linebacker on the strong side. (see below for explanation of 3-4 defense)
- Buck is the nickname for the second middle linebacker in a 3-4 defense, which plays on the offense’s weak side. In a 4-3 defense, Buck is sometimes used for the weak-side linebacker, so as to not offend his manliness by suggesting he is “weak”.
- Will is the nickname for the weak-side linebacker, or the linebacker that lines up opposite the side where the offensive tight-end is positioned.
Boundary corner, Field corner
- Boundary corner is the cornerback on the short side of the field, or the side closest to the nearest sideline. For example, if the ball is placed on the right-hash mark, making a shorter field to the right sideline, the boundary corner will defend that side.
- Field corner is the cornerback on the open side of the field, or the side furthest from the sidelines. This cornerback is generally better at one-on-one coverage, since he will be out in space more.
This is a unique name used by BYU to refer to the strong safety, as opposed to the free safety. The strong safety has more run stopping responsibilities. The name is actually a holdover from Bronco’s 3-3-5 defense when he had a free safety, a strong safety, and a Kat safety (or rover).
X, Y, Z, H receivers
In a west coast passing offense, like BYU runs, these receiver designations are not as strict as in a pro-style, one tight-end, two receiver offense.
- X receiver is the wide receiver that generally lines up opposite the tight end. Your deep threat wide receiver, trying to stretch the field, make big plays and pull the safety away from the receivers on the other side. (Think Austin Collie)
- Y receiver is a slot receiver lined up between the X or Z receiver and the nearest lineman. In BYU’s offense, it is often a tight end, who is flexed out in a receiver position. Your tough, inside receiver, used to get 5-15 yards and first downs. (Think Dennis Pitta)
- Z receiver is a wide receiver generally lined up on the tight end side, one step behind the line of scrimmage. He may go in motion before the snap. Your versatile wide receiver, inside and out.
- H receiver is a fourth wide receiver in certain offensive sets that acts as a smaller, quicker version of the Y (slot) receiver. He may go in motion before the snap.
3-4 vs. 4-3 (and other) defenses
- 3-4: This refers to the type of defense that has three down lineman and four linebackers (and 4 defensive backs). This is the defense that BYU employs. The three down linemen are generally two defensive ends and a nose tackle. It gives you less short yardage run support, but more flexibility in pass coverage and blitzing.
- 4-3: This refers to the type of defense that has four down lineman and three linebackers (and 4 defensive backs). The four down linemen are generally two defensive ends and two defensive tackles. It gives you more short yardage run support, but less flexibility in pass coverage and blitzing.
- 3-3-5: This refers to the type of defense that has three down lineman, three linebackers and five defensive backs. It maximizes speed and pass coverage, but is more vulnerable to strong running teams. This is the defense Bronco Mendenhall ran at New Mexico and when he initially came to BYU.
- Nickel package: This is a type of temporary defense that has five defensive backs (5=nickel). This is used against likely passing situations (3rd and long, or late in a game to stop a passing comeback).
- Dime package: This is a type of temporary defense that has six defensive backs. Since it was invented after the nickel, it was named the dime, even though the numbers don’t match the description. This is used against *really* obvious passing situations (like 4th and 35 with 30 seconds left).
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